Working for Intergroup Understanding in Israel

May 8, 2011

Some of you know the Zionist voice of Galilee Foundation for Value Education director, Rabbi Marc Rosenstein, because he writes a wonderful weekly “Galilee Diary” on the Union for Reform Judaism’s daily 10 Minutes of Torah.  You can learn more about the Galilee Foundation for Value Education and their intergroup understanding peace work in Israel at their website.  In honor of Monday evening-Tuesday’s celebration of Yom Ha-atzme-ut, Israel’s Independence Day, here is a thoughtful piece written by Rabbi Rosenstein:

It turns out that independence is not as simple as we thought.  On the one hand, of course, we are celebrating the 63rd anniversary of the Jewish “emergence from powerlessness,” of the existence of a Jewish state with an army, able to set its own path in the world.  On the other hand, we have learned that that doesn’t mean we are free to do whatever we want.  Rather, the key word is perhaps not independence, but interdependence. Read the rest of this entry »

Reflecting on the Gay Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

May 1, 2011

On Friday night, we celebrated the Equality Forum: Philadelphia’s Global LGBT Summit, and we prepared for the observance of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.  At our Shabbat service, we discussed the Gay Holocaust Memorial that was dedicated in Berlin in 2008.  Responses to the design were mixed; there was pride, concern about the symbolism of hiding and confining sexuality, curiosity about whether a memorial should depict people in the time being memorialized.   Read about the Memorial and take a look at the images here; what do you think?  One comment on Friday night described the memorial as transitional.  It was forward-thinking enough that it could not have existed 30 years ago; yet it hides two men kissing, so it hardly seems to be as open as we hope to be.  On this Yom HaShoah, may we pray for and work for the day when every one of us can openly express who we are, when the dignity of every human being is affirmed, and when we truly understand that we are all made b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God.